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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

388                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN     LETTER xxxv

Trebizond. During eleven days there has scarcely been
a time when there has not been a caravan in sight, and
indeed they succeed each other in a nearly endless pro-
cession, the majority being composed of stately mountain
camels, gaily caparisoned, carrying large musical bells,
their head-stalls of crimson leather being profusely tas-
selled and elaborately decorated with cowries and blue
beads. The leader of each caravan wears a magnificent
head-dress covering his head and neck, on which em-
broidery is lavishly used in combination with tinsel and
coloured glass, the whole being surmounted by a crown
with a plume set between the ears. There is one driver
to every six animals; and these men, fine, robust, sturdy
fellows, are all dressed alike, in strong warm clothing,
the chief feature of which is a great brown sheepskin
cap of mushroom shape, which projects at least nine
inches from the head. The road is a highway for
British goods. The bales and packing cases are almost
invariably marked with British names and trade marks.
The exception is Eussian kerosene, carried by asses and
horses, of which an enormous quantity was on the road.

I was glad to leave Kop KhantS at daybreak, for
caravan bells jingled, chimed, tolled, and pealed all night,
and my neighbours the camels were under weigh at 3 A,M.
The road descends gently down the wide valley of the
Tchoruk, the ancient Acampsis, and then ascends to Bai-
burt, a town with a population of about 12,000 souls, 1800
being Christians. It is very picturesquely situated at the
junction of two or three valleys, the houses rise irregularly
as at Bitlis tier above tier, and the resemblance is
heightened by a great reddish-yellow rock which rises
in the centre, the long and varied contour of which is
followed by the walls of a fortress imposing even in its
ruins, round and square towers cresting the remark-*
able eminence. A handsome military college on a height,